This is the day that … Columba landed on the tiny isle of Iona off the northwest coast of Scotland in the year AD 563.
Columba had been a monk in Ireland … and had surreptitiously copied a Book of Psalms belonging to the Abbot. When this was discovered, St Finnian demanded the copy be given to him, and Columba refused. The High King of Ireland at Tara even decided that the copy belonged to the Abbot, but Columba was not going to give up without a fight. Literally! A fierce battle took place – both sides had gathered armies – and “the king’s forces were severely defeated” (The Man with the Coracle, by M. Backer-Benfield, page 6).
F.F. Bruce, in The Spreading Flame, also refers to this incredible war that took place over the Book of Psalms – “Some accounts represent Columba as vowing he would not return to Ireland until he had won as many pagans for Christ as had fallen in the battle – 3000 all told!” (page 387).
So to Iona he journeyed, and there founded a monastery. “From this primitive abbey went missionaries who carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to Scotland, then to England, to France, Germany and all of Western Europe.” Iona became “a lighthouse to the Dark Ages” (Decision Magazine, March, 1975).
And it was Columba who first reported seeing the Loch Ness monster! In 565 (The People’s Almanac, Volume 2, page 1278).
And Columba’s copy of the Book of Psalms is still to be seen at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin (National Geographic Magazine, May, 1977, page 626).